The development of Value Theory in the Seventeenth Century: a by-product of the Theories of Money, Trade and Interest

  • Marian Bowley


The reasons for the emergence of speculation about economic matters by the great Schoolmen of the thirteenth century and the continued concern with them in subsequent centuries is not difficult to comprehend. Feudal society was, it might be said, no sooner established and a tolerable approximation to the rule of law realised, than its economic basis began to dissolve. Relatively settled conditions facilitated the development of trade and this broke down the local self-sufficiency of economic units. With trade, credit transactions developed and ownership of wealth as distinct from original status began to become influential. In short economic development broke down, or rather threatened to break down, customary and legal economic relationships. The church was obliged to consider the applicability of its teaching to these circumstances and to formulate an approach to current economic and social problems. The centuries during which feudal society had been becoming established were not notable for analytical discussions of the ethical implications of the economic organisa- tion of society. The centuries during which it began to decay forced such discussion upon the church. Hence the concern of the Schoolmen from the twelfth century onwards with economic questions.


Foreign Exchange Seventeenth Century Factor Price Foreign Exchange Market Relative Nature 
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Copyright information

© Marian Bowley 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian Bowley
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor of Political EconomyUniversity of LondonUK

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